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Keeping It Real

Quantum Gravity
Book One

Justina Robson

337 pp • ISBN: 978-1-59102-539-9
Paperback (6" x 9") • $17
March 2007
Cover Illustration: ©Larry Rostant


The Quantum Bomb of 2015 changed everything. The fabric that kept the universe's different dimensions apart was torn and now, six years later, the people of earth exist in uneasy company with the inhabitants of, amongst others, the elfin, elemental, and demonic realms. Magic is real and can be even more dangerous than technology. Elves are exotic, erotic, dangerous, and really bored with the constant Lord of the Rings references. Elementals are a law unto themselves and demons are best left well to themselves.

Special agent Lila Black used to be pretty, but now she's not so sure. Her body is more than half restless carbon and metal alloy machinery, a machine she's barely in control of. It goes into combat mode, enough weapons for a small army springing from within itself, at the merest provocation. As for her heart, well, ever since being drawn into a game by the elfin rockstar Zal (lead singer of The No Shows), who she's been assigned to protect, she's not even sure she can trust that any more either.


"For Fans of...Tolkien, had he gone electric, dropped acid, and discovered tantric sex..."
—Entertainment Weekly

"This is a novel that, like the realities that shatter into one, tears apart all genre conventions and mixes them together into something new. And if that weren't enough to stack against it: In a male-dominated industry, this is a novel written by someone channeling their inner teenage girl, writing for teenage girls....Keeping It Real may turn out to be one example of the change that SF may want to embark on. Because this isn't SF for SF readers. This is SF for a generation raised on anime, manga, and MMORPGs. This is SF for the Wii gamer."
—Ain't It Cool News

"If you are a fan of sci-fi or fantasy Keeping It Real has something for you!...I really enjoyed this book. I thought the characters were inventive and interesting....Robson did a great job of connecting the reader to her characters. The universe that she has created or multi-verse (not sure which would be correct) is also very imaginative and I believe the melding of sci-fi and fantasy elements was extremely well done. 4 out of 5 stars."

"The author of Silver Screen skillfully builds a seamless connection between sf and fantasy in this fast-paced series opener featuring a strong, action-oriented heroine and a unique world setting. With appeal to fans of contemporary culture and mature YAs, her latest effort belongs in most libraries."
—Library Journal

"Worlds overlap in unexpected ways as Black must face her old adversary, travel to Alfheim, plus deal with demons and a power crazed Queen in this action-packed futuristic sci-fi that will appeal to techies and fantasy fans alike. Tension between the characters is credible even if the premise is a bit farfetched and it's fun watching Black grow into her new self as she confronts magic in ways few other humans have managed in this first of the Quantum Gravity series."

"There's a treat in store for you all, as the new Justina Robson is out. Lila Black is a spy, and a bodyguard, and every so often she breaks into the sheer joy of the toys she carries within her. It's good to see that almost naïve geek love you see among born techies translated into a character so beautifully. The only truly bad thing about this book is that it isn't stand-alone and now I've got to wait until she's finished writing the next one, wanting much, much more."
—Starburst (Five Star review)

"Robson lets loose and had fun with this tale, a rock 'n' roll saga including elves, magic, and cyborgs....Robson creates fascinating characters and worlds for them to inhabit, meanwhile sacrificing none of her other strengths and not once succumbing to the easy genre cliches, at least not without keen irony."

"This is by far the most entertaining book Robson has written,
a novel packed with memorable characters and ideas but that
doubles as holiday-reading escapism."


"Life is anything but real in this entertaining fusion of SF and fantasy spiced
with sex, rockin' elves and drunk faeries, the first of a new series, from
British author Robson....Deft prose helps the reader accept what in
lesser hands would be merely absurd."

—Publishers Weekly

Justina Robson

Justina Robson is the author of Selling Out, Going Under, and Chasing the Dragon (Books 2-4 of the Quantum Gravity series). Her first novel, Silver Screen, published in August 1999 in the UK and in 2005 by Pyr, was short-listed for the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the BSFA Award, and was nominated for the Philip K. Dick award. Her second novel, Mappa Mundi, together with Silver Screen, won the Writer's Bursary in 2000 and was also short-listed for the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2001. A third novel, Natural History, a far-future novel, placed second in the 2004 John W. Campbell Award, was short-listed for the Best Novel of 2003 in the British Science Fiction Association Awards, and was also nominated for the 2006 Philip K. Dick Award, receiving a special citation. A fourth novel, Living Next Door to the God of Love, was a finalist for the BSFA Award.

Visit Justina Robson's Web site at